The last thing you'd expect a mini to be described as hard core.
You simply don't associate its bright eyed cartoonish look with proper anger.
The current John Cooper Work is a pretty good steer, but there are some who don't find it invoking enough.
They then will be more happy with this, the Mini John Cooper Work Challenge.
This is one of just 100 Mini John Cooper Works Challenge cars.
Each one is individually numbered and looks a little bit different from the car upon which it's based.
A normal person will just see a Mini with a scoop and some stickers, but those in the know will know they're on to something special.
They'll also hear it.
The Challenge gets a trick exhaust that's so loud it's not strictly okay for use on the road.
You turn it on and off using a blue tooth thing on a key and it sounds unholy for many.
[GEAR SHIFTING SOUND] But it's not just a bunch of stickers.
No, there's loads of stuff under the skin.
For example, there's a proper Quaife differential, there's adjustable nitron coilovers, you can fiddle with the ride height and the camber, uprated brakes, and some Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires Is as well.
This is a serious bit of kit.
Considering the JCW this is based on already has a pretty sorted chassis, you've got yourself a bit of a tasty motor.
Its engine is the same two liter turbo as you get in the regular John Cooper Works.
That means 228 horses, 236.
[UNKNOWN] It's not the 62 time.
It's the same 6.3 seconds, and it'll top out at 153 miles an hour.
And with all that extra gear on board, it's actually 15 kilos heavier.
Then the off the peg car, and that's with weight saving measures like not being allowed to have sat-nav, manual air-con only.
This is for the UK only because we like [UNKNOWN] hatches more than the rest of th world.
So we're better, sort of.
So I imagine at this point there's a few people wondering exactly why Mini would be making this.
It's a limited run, Only for the UK, what's the real point of it.
Well, you see numbers don't only make
and the team behind this, well they know what they're doing.
It was created by the people who make the Mini challenge racers, guys who race them and therefore know what the Mini can truly do when it's given a chance to shine properly.
There was some involvement from the UK's [UNKNOWN] magazine as well, and they know a thing or two about cars that go fast.
So that The brief was a good one.
Take a regular Mini and make it suitable for the track, but no so hard core you couldn't use it on the regular.
It's why you've got adaptable dampers for the road and the track, you can adjust them to your heart's content and your own set up, should you wish.
And it's why this has rear seats where the hardcore super fast mini GP cars don't.
You can put children and things in the back.
It's a special car made by clever people who know how to make cars feel special, designed for people who want to feel like they're driving a miniature race car on the school run or.
When they get themselves to a track date.
In theory it's rather wonderful.
So is it the world's best [UNKNOWN] mini thing?
It reminds of RPM teknik's 911 CSR.
The one that's that half way house between GT3 silliness and practicality.
It's more track oriented but you can still use it on the daily, if you're feeling fruity.
This is kind of like that.
It's got the light weight or lighter seats.
You can't have a [UNKNOWN].
You can't have climate control.
You can't have X, you can't have Y, because this is the very limit of livable and track fun, and I like that.
A while a go I drove this back to back with a normal JCW.
Same engine, same power, same naught to 60, all of that.
But here's the ruff, where on some corners in some places the JCW would under-steer, this just keeps griping.
It just keeps going, you feel the disks work, and the steering feels just a little bit better.
Just that bit smoother, so solid, exclusively [INAUDIBLE] corners and [INAUDIBLE] and you can adjust the downforce so you can have it set up for the road.
And when you want to come to, say, an empty race track with a bunch of amazing [UNKNOWN] around in here, you can.
It's turned an all [UNKNOWN] chassis into something A lot better, a lot better.
[SOUND] It's a [LAUGH] truly stunning bit of [UNKNOWN].
I got out of it thinking, hang on.
Why aren't all Minis like this?
This is the first [INAUDIBLE]
Of what I hope is gonna be a lot of cars like this.
If there is just that extra step of [UNKNOWN], you don't Have the JCW, have the JCW plus.
So we'll make the challenge a full-time thing.
This was like a backroom project with a bunch of people who really cared about making an awesome-handling and sounding car.
And they did it.
The gear shift is slick.
It's a little bit like For my taste but I think they're trying make it easy to make people not afraid of buying the manual.
Because this is manual only, this is a car for drivers, this is a car for people like you, people like me, people who like driving fast things and having fun.
Also this has a little bit of a trick so the electrics to make your downshifts a little easier.
Stick it in sport and every time you downshift the engine will rev match for you.
No bad thing I think because it means people don't **** up heel-and-toes, and you can turn it off if you want to.
But the peddle power, peddle box means You can use it, you can [UNKNOWN] and you don't have to feel guilty for it.
And I'll tell you what, it makes a hell of a racket.
This has a special track only noise maker.
Which basically means it sounds like a machine gun but your going at a speed and it can't help but make you smile.
But it Where the normal JCW is a little bit soft, and a little bit squidgy, and a little bit wallowy.
[NOISE] This, you can really abuse it.
The brakes use bits like they get on the mini challenge race car.
And man do they stop the car, they are so effective.
The pedal has really a little bit of trouble on it and then you nail it and the car just stops.
You lose so much momentum.
And the [UNKNOWN] in here, it's so smooth, this is a car you buy because you want this car in particular.
It's not mega customizable, but there will only ever be 100 of them.
Which means this is going to be snapped up by the hardcore Mini easters really soon.
They'll just be gone, they'll be all gone.
And I'm not surprised, I do think the Mini look doesn't lend itself that well to being super aggressive.
I thought it did a while ago, but you know what?
I've changed my mind, it does look very cutesy.
But on the flip side, that means that when you go [INAUDIBLE], people are gonna start laughing.
[UNKNOWN] because they think you've just bought a mini, and you're going to understeer everywhere, and you're going to be a little bit of a joke.
[NOISE] You're going to be going [UNKNOWN].
As that crossbar between road and track, they made an absolute stonker here.
Yeah, it's awesome, but the car it's based on ticks the right boxes, so sharpening it up wasn't really going to end in disaster, was it?
There is, however, one quite large problem with it.
That'll be the price.
You see, in order to make a good car, you need to put good things in it.
And this is a limited run, so you can find the best of the best to put in it, hence all the toys.
However, they do push up the price a lot.
In the UK this costs 32,000 pounds which is an enormous sum of money.
That's Audi S3 territory.
That's even, more worryingly, Focus RS territory.
They're both very different cars, They're both bigger, more powerful, etc.
But still, it;'s a lot of cash.
Luckily those that buy this thing will likely not care.
They'll love its looks, its noise, and how it goes around corners.
They'll also all be British, because the junker works challenge is just for us in England land.
Sorry, rest of the world.
Forget the price tag, seriously Forget it.
This thing is utterly fantastic and worth every single penny.
As a compromise of a road and track car, Mini is onto something truly special with it.
Now here's the thing.
If Mini shifts these hundred quick enough, and knowing Mini fans, they almost certainly will, well imagine what's gonna come next.
Listen to the heart of Aston Martin's upcoming hypercar
The Audi E-Tron shows us the future, underwhelms on the road
The 992 generation of Porsche 911 is here -- and it looks great
Is the new Audi A8 the ultimate night-driving car?
Fiat names its fastest cars Abarth, meet the man behind that...
The new Range Rover Evoque has some awesome new toys and the...
Driving the 2019 Formula E car
Aston Martin gives us one last blast of analogue excellence with...
How Morgan made the mighty V8 very British indeed
From Polo to T-Roc: The weird and wonderful world of Volkswagen...